PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – According to the American Dental Association, 75 percent of people have a fear of the dentist, and 10 percent of those fears turn into phobias.

Taking your child to the dentist while they are young can help ease those fears.

Your child may not enjoy going to the dentist now, but introducing them to the dentist early on can help them become more comfortable sitting in the chair. Not to mention it will help prevent tooth decay.

“It may be surprising to many parents, but the American Dental Association actually recommends that the child start visiting the dentist after they receive their first tooth or right after their first birthday. And what is key for parents to understand is that this can create really good healthy habits for their child’s lifetime,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List said.

“The gold standard is 12 months of age. We also know that there are some kids that are at a very low risk of tooth decay that don’t need to start until they’re sometime between the age of 16 months, but surely by 19 months,” pediatric dentist Dr. Charles Poland said.

Many parents clean pacifiers by putting them in their mouths and then giving them back to their babies. However, you may be surprised to learn that those cavity-causing germs are easily passed to infants and toddlers this way.

“I think the most important thing for us was, I didn’t think about this, but a parent’s dental health is very important too because you can pass things on to her and all of a sudden, I find myself carrying around more dental floss and trying to brush a little more then I normally do,” Clark Rehme said.

“When looking for a dentist, you want to find someone who relates well to children. So, whether you are using a family dentist or a pediatric dentist, the key here is finding someone that is gentle, relates well to the kids, and even talks in their language,” Hicks said.

Before teeth begin to come in, gently clean your baby’s gums with a clean soft cloth after each feeding.


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